Senate Conservatives Concede, Won’t Delay DHS Bill

Passage of a “clean” measure expected before Friday deadline, though House prospects remain uncertain.

Senate Budget Committee ranking member Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) makes a brief statement to the news media before the second day of markup hearings in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill March 14, 2013 in Washington, DC.
National Journal
Sarah Mimms
Add to Briefcase
Sarah Mimms
Feb. 26, 2015, 9:53 a.m.

The Sen­ate will pass a clean bill fund­ing the De­part­ment of Home­land Se­cur­ity Fri­day morn­ing, roughly 12 hours be­fore the de­part­ment is set to run out of fund­ing.

Des­pite con­ser­vat­ive groups and blogs blast­ing Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Mitch Mc­Con­nell’s “sur­render,” im­mig­ra­tion hard­liners in the Sen­ate ap­peared to wave their own white flags on Thursday, al­low­ing lead­ers to come to a deal to fund the de­part­ment be­fore Fri­day night’s shut­down dead­line.

With a deal to pass a clean DHS fund­ing bill mov­ing for­ward some time in the next two weeks no mat­ter what they did, con­ser­vat­ives did not raise any ob­jec­tions to Mc­Con­nell’s strategy dur­ing a con­fer­ence lunch­eon on Thursday. A four vote series to pass the DHS bill is sched­uled to be­gin at ap­prox­im­ately 10 a.m. Fri­day.

Mc­Con­nell filed clo­ture Thursday even­ing on sep­ar­ate le­gis­la­tion from Sen. Susan Collins that would de­fund Pres­id­ent Obama’s ex­ec­ut­ive ac­tion. Re­pub­lic­ans hope to pass that bill im­me­di­ately after fund­ing DHS, but Demo­crats have said they will not con­sent to mov­ing for­ward with the Collins meas­ure un­til after a clean DHS bill has made it to Obama’s desk. That dis­agree­ment over tim­ing nearly scuttled the DHS agree­ment Thursday.

Earli­er Thursday, over ta­cos, Re­pub­lic­ans dis­cussed their op­tions mov­ing for­ward and ex­ited the meet­ing largely op­tim­ist­ic that the DHS bill will clear the Sen­ate by Fri­day even­ing, be­fore the de­part­ment shuts down at mid­night that night.

Pro­spects for the DHS bill in the House are un­cer­tain, with GOP lead­er­ship in that cham­ber now con­sid­er­ing pas­sage of a short-term con­tinu­ing res­ol­u­tion, likely three weeks, to buy them­selves more time. But what hap­pens in the lower-cham­ber is of little con­cern to sen­at­ors who have had the DHS bill on their plates for two months.

“We’ve got to fund DHS and say to the House: ‘Here’s a straw so you can suck it up,’” Sen. Mark Kirk said.

Al­though Sens. Jeff Ses­sions and James In­hofe had been highly crit­ic­al of Mc­Con­nell’s de­cision to pass a clean fund­ing bill and voted against mov­ing for­ward with that strategy on Wed­nes­day, neither raised con­cerns about the le­gis­la­tion dur­ing Thursday’s lunch, sev­er­al Re­pub­lic­an mem­bers said. Asked after the meet­ing wheth­er he would hold up the bill through the week­end, In­hofe said em­phat­ic­ally: “No!”

“I don’t look to have any un­ne­ces­sary delays in this pro­cess,” Ses­sions said, ac­know­ledging that he will not hold up the bill either. “I like to see what kind of [Un­an­im­ous Con­sent] we’re look­ing at but I think it’s ap­pro­pri­ate to move for­ward with the bill. “¦ I’m not in­ter­ested in delay merely for the sake of delay.”

Based on con­ver­sa­tions dur­ing the lunch­eon, half a dozen Re­pub­lic­an mem­bers, in­clud­ing the GOP Whip, said they did not be­lieve any of their col­leagues would hold up the bill.

Ses­sions and In­hofe fol­low on the heels of Sen. Ted Cruz, who has long called on the Sen­ate to de­fund the pres­id­ent’s ex­ec­ut­ive ac­tion, but said earli­er this week that he would not hold up the bill. Cruz didn’t even at­tend Thursday’s lunch, opt­ing in­stead to speak at the Con­ser­vat­ive Polit­ic­al Ac­tion Con­fer­ence in Mary­land.

Kirk ex­pressed frus­tra­tion with the “hard­liners,” in­clud­ing Ses­sions, who have pushed DHS so close to the pre­cip­ice. “This battle should be the end of the strategy of at­tach­ing whatever you’re up­set with the pres­id­ent [about] to a vi­tal piece of gov­ern­ment,” Kirk said.

Those con­ces­sions will al­low Re­pub­lic­ans, along with the co­oper­a­tion of Demo­crats, to move much more quickly through the pro­cess of passing the DHS bill and send­ing it back to the House. Had In­hofe, Ses­sions or an­oth­er mem­ber ob­jec­ted the pro­cess could have las­ted through Sunday, for­cing a two-day shut­down at DHS. Head­ing in­to the meet­ing, many Re­pub­lic­an mem­bers thought that was likely.

But the pro­spect of spend­ing the week­end in Wash­ing­ton with DHS shuttered was un­pop­u­lar with the vast ma­jor­ity of mem­bers. With Re­pub­lic­ans and Demo­crats now in un­an­im­ous agree­ment to move for­ward, the Sen­ate will be able to leave Wash­ing­ton for the week­end on Fri­day, leav­ing the fate of the De­part­ment of Home­land Se­cur­ity in the hands of the House.

What We're Following See More »
KIM CALLS TRUMP A “DOTARD”
North Korea Threatens H-Bomb Test Over Pacific
2 days ago
THE LATEST

"North Korea said on Friday it might test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean after President Donald Trump vowed to destroy the reclusive country, with leader Kim Jong Un promising to make Trump pay dearly for his threats. Kim did not specify what action he would take against the United States or Trump, whom he called a 'mentally deranged U.S. dotard' in the latest bout of insults the two leaders have traded in recent weeks."

Source:
INFORMS CONGRESS RE: EXECUTIVE ORDER
Trump Makes Good on Promise of New North Korea Sanctions
3 days ago
THE LATEST

President Trump this afternoon announced another round of sanctions on North Korea, calling the regime "a continuing threat." The executive order, which Trump relayed to Congress, bans any ship or plane that has visited North Korea from visiting the United States within 180 days. The order also authorizes sanctions on any financial institution doing business with North Korea, and permits the secretaries of State and the Treasury to sanction any person involved in trading with North Korea, operating a port there, or involved in a variety of industries there.

SOUTH KOREA WILL SEND AID
Trump Promises More Sanctions on North Korea
3 days ago
THE LATEST

In response to a reporter's question, President Trump said "he’ll be looking to impose further financial penalties on North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic tests. ... The U.N. has passed two resolutions recently aimed at squeezing the North Korean economy by cutting off oil, labor and exports to the nation." Meanwhile, the Guardian reports that South Korea's unification ministry is sending an $8m aid package aimed at infants and pregnant women in North Korea. The "humanitarian gesture [is] at odds with calls by Japan and the US for unwavering economic and diplomatic pressure on Pyongyang."

Source:
HIGHLIGHT ISSUES FACING KIDS
FLOTUS to Speak at UN Luncheon
4 days ago
THE LATEST
PRESSES CASE FOR REFORMS
Trump Meets with UN Leaders
4 days ago
THE LATEST

President Trump on Tuesday night met with UN Secretary Guterres and President of the General Assembly Miroslav Lajcak. In both cases, as per releases from the White House, Trump pressed them on the need to reform the UN bureaucracy.

×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login